With New York City's base of achievement in Infrastructure, Education, Open Government and Engagement, New York City's technology Industry is in prime position to flourish as the fifth element of the Digital Roadmap. Over the past three years, New York City's technology companies have experienced powerful growth, with over $8.3 billion of acquisitions in 2012 alone. New York City has surpassed Boston to become the nation's second most venture capital funded area after Silicon Valley, and added over 8,700 technology jobs in 2012. Reports also reinforce the City as a magnet for entrepreneurs, stating that there are more startups in New York City than any other U.S. city. Finally, the We Are Made in NY initiative recently certified its 1,000th technology company as Made in NY-meaning it is locally headquartered and bases at least 75% of its development in New York City.
Together these indicators tell a powerful story of economic development in New York City. Sustaining and growing this momentum is critical to New York City's future, as technology roles and ventures represent one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, providing future jobs to New Yorkers and developing innovations that help improve daily life.
To highlight the technology sector and increase its visibility, Mayor Bloomberg has visited more than 20 technology companies and organizations since the release of the Digital Roadmap, including Boxee, Buzzfeed, Efficiency 2.0, Etsy, Facebook, Foursquare, General Assembly, Google, Internet Week NY, MongoDB, NY Tech Meetup, On Deck, Seamless, Spotify, TechStars, Tumblr, Twitter, Yelp, Urban Compass and Warby Parker. Each visit is an opportunity for Mayor Bloomberg to express his support of industry leaders, drawing on his own experience as a successful technology entrepreneur.
Input from entrepreneurs has demonstrated that a major need of New York City technology firms is the demand for more talent to fuel the economy. A diverse, expanding workforce is critical to both the growth of New York City's technology sector, and the future of New York City residents. To support more diversity, the City of New York has unveiled a number of professional development programs that aim to introduce young New Yorkers from a variety of backgrounds to job opportunities in the tech sector.
In 2012, NYC Digital convened a group of civic-minded technology companies in City Hall with the goal of introducing them to the wide range of programs that provide professional development opportunities to students. The response was overwhelming, with nearly every attendee committing to either host an intern or group site visit. Since that meeting, the City of New York has connected over 300 high school and college students from diverse backgrounds with internships at technology companies in New York City. Program partners include Ladders for Leaders, Summer Scholars and the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Internship Program, initiatives that blend hands-on workplace experience with professional skills development curriculum. Participants also visited a range of prominent New York City startups, including AppNexus, Facebook and Kickstarter, to gain wider exposure to the sector.
The City continues to encourage technology companies to participate as internship hosts. Interested parties can visit the "Volunteer" tab on wearemadeinny.com to learn more.
For more experienced professionals, the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, along with the Department of Small Business Services, has unveiled programs that help small business owners expand their expertise and provide training to employees. One program, the "Made in NY" Strategic Steps for Growth for Media Executives, is a nine-month executive education program that culminates with participants developing a three-year growth roadmap for their companies, under the guidance of industry leaders. More than 300 entrepreneurs have completed the program, and graduates see an average increase in company revenues of 40% after taking the curriculum. The Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment also offers a "Made in NY" Media Employee Training grant program designed to equip employees with new skills in emerging technology. To date, the program has awarded over $170,000 in grants to 11 businesses, including Bureau Blank, which used its funding to train staff in producing e-books, apps and interactive websites.
In addition to the above programs, the Department of Small Business Services continues to offer certification to support minority- and women-owned small businesses, a program that is also highlighted on the We Are Made in NY website.
Recruiting More Engineers to New York City
Another mechanism of expanding the talent pool in New York City is supporting the recruiting needs of local companies. As most early-stage startups lack the resources to successfully participate in campus career fairs around the country, the City launched a program in 2012 designed to help technology companies attract talent. The program, NYC Tech Talent Draft, organizes information and networking sessions onsite at leading engineering campuses, and to date has hosted 14 information sessions at seven universities-connecting 800 Engineering and Computer Science students with opportunities at 44 startups.
Another means of attracting talent to New York City is the Made in NY Digital Jobs Map, part of the We Are Made in NY initiative. The map is an effective introduction to New York City's technology ecosystem, featuring technology companies, venture firms and co-working spaces mapped alongside subway lines, cafes and hotels-demystifying the sector and sending a clear message that the City is open for business.
Beyond talent, technology companies need physical infrastructure to grow-including high-speed Internet connectivity to support business operations and commercial real estate conducive to a startup environment. To that end, the City of New York, led by efforts of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, has introduced the following programs to address these demands.
ConnectNYC Fiber Challenge, first introduced in 2012, is a City-sponsored competition that allows businesses to apply for free fiber optic construction and installation. Now in its second round, ConnectNYC offers up to $14 million in fiber installation cost coverage from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) including Time Warner Cable, Optimum, Lightower, TW Telecom and Stealth Communications. In order to be eligible, technology companies must be located in New York City, have less than 500 employees and state how increased Internet speeds will improve their business's bottom line. If selected for free installation, participants are required to commit to a one-year contract at market rates with one of the participating ISPs. Companies can apply for Connect NYC through December 12, 2013 at www.nycfiberaccess.com. The projects that the competition will fund the installation of fiber connectivity for hundreds of businesses.
In addition, to increase transparency about broadband infrastructure among landlords and tenants of commercial and industrial real estate across New York City, NYCEDC has introduced WiredNYC. WiredNYC is a certification system that provides clear, consistent measurement scores that assess the Internet services available in New York City buildings, informing tenants and helping landlords understand and market Internet offerings. WiredNYC currently lists over 150 buildings totaling more than 100 million square feet across the five boroughs.
Commercial Office Space
New York City's five boroughs offer a wide range of real estate options to growing technology companies. To highlight Lower Manhattan as a commercial real estate destination and to incentivize businesses to expand there, NYCEDC launched Take the H.E.L.M. (Hire and Expand in Lower Manhattan). To date, Take the H.E.L.M. has provided over $1 million in real estate grants to companies relocating to spaces in Lower Manhattan, including technology organizations Booker, Grapeshot, Paperless Post, StellaStar and The Flatiron School. Now in its second round, Take the H.E.L.M. will issue an additional $1 million in funding in November 2013.
It is critical that the innovations and momentum of the technology sector reach all New York City businesses, helping them to grow, evolve and compete in the changing economy. To help non-technical businesses successfully leverage digital technology, the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and NYC Digital partnered to produce the Small Business Digital Toolkit. The Small Business Digital Toolkit includes a curriculum taught in-person at Business Solutions Centers across the City, as well as how-to guides and videos available online, on topics such as website development, social media and e-commerce. Technology partner Mashable was instrumental in developing the curriculum, along with others including Google, ShopKeep POS, Squarespace and Weebly. Since its launch in 2012, 1,074 entrepreneurs and small business owners have completed the course, with thousands more accessing resources via the SBS website.
Embracing New York City's digital landscape is equally as vital as investing in its physical landscape, and the launch of the .nyc top-level domain is a pioneering development that will support local businesses, residents and organizations as it highlights their New York City origin online. As announced in the 2011 Digital Roadmap, the City of New York is among the first municipalities in the world to apply for its own top-level domain (TLD), the last part of a domain name, such as .com or .org.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) manages the delegation of top-level domains and is leading the process. In 2013, the application of the City of New York for .nyc passed its initial approval phase, paving the way for eventual roll out following finalization of a contract with ICANN. To administer the .nyc TLD, the City is working with vendor Neustar, which manages other TLDs such as .co and us. Current ICANN timeline projects delegation for .nyc in 2014. More information is available on mydotnyc.com.
Reflecting a wide range of input from technologists, entrepreneurs and investors, in February 2012 Mayor Bloomberg introduced We Are Made in NY, an economic development initiative that celebrates the local technology sector, highlights job opportunities, attracts new companies to New York City and presents a host of education programs that support learning at every literacy level. We Are Made in NY brings together all of the Industry initiatives of the Digital Roadmap in a single, easily accessible resource.
Originally introduced by Commissioner Katherine Oliver and the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment in 2005 and designed by @radical.media, the Made in NY Mark of distinction was created to celebrate and incentivize locally-based film and television production in New York City. In 2012, Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Oliver announced the expansion of the mark to apply to digital companies that base 75% or more of their development in New York City. To date, over 1,000 technology firms have been certified to meet this criteria, highlighting a rich engineering culture in New York City. Made in NY companies are listed prominently on the Made in NY website and are approved to display the Made in NY mark of distinction on their own digital properties.
The We Are Made in NY website (wearemadeinny.com) is the focal point of the initiative, aggregating resources in the areas of technology education and entrepreneurship that span many organizations and government agencies. Under the "Learn" tab, visitors can discover programs such as free digital literacy courses at public library branches, afterschool coding courses for students, technology sector internships and advanced degrees in Computer Science in the new Cornell Tech campus. The "Launch" tab is for entrepreneurs who want to take their startups to the next level in New York City, presenting resources such as Media Employee training grants, the ConnectNYC fiber optic infrastructure competition, the Tech Talent Draft recruiting program and vendor certification resources for women- and minority-owned businesses.
In addition to "Learn" and "Launch," the We Are Made in NY website features an interactive Jobs Map, developed using the Google Maps API, that visually illustrates the vitality and scope of New York City's technology sector. The map features thousands of New York City technology companies across the five boroughs, including a running tally at the top that states how many firms are hiring-currently over 1,300. The map also enables the user to filter listings by hiring companies, investors, co-working spaces and locally-based Made in NY startups. On the employer side, companies are able to submit their listings for inclusion on the map and often use the resources as a hiring tool.
For those outside the City, the map sends a clear message that New York City is indeed a technology hub, with thousands of opportunities across the five boroughs.
The map was initially released in partnership with Internet Week NY as a standalone site called Mapped in NY by Mayor Bloomberg in 2012, and has inspired similar local resources around the world, including maps by Milan, Rio de Janeiro, Tel Aviv, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
To increase public awareness of We Are Made in NY, the City engaged local entrepreneurs to serve as ambassadors for the initiative. The resulting marketing campaign features six technology companies-AppNexus, DoSomething.org, Etsy, Learnvest, Songza, Kickstarter-from across the five boroughs whose founders represent a diverse range of backgrounds. Images of dynamic employee teams in their offices were overlaid with the statement, "We are over 900 tech companies, hiring for more than 3,000 jobs"-a message that conveys the scale of locally headquartered technology companies and the enormous job opportunity that they offer. The campaign garnered over 150 million impressions from placements in outdoor media, including subway stations, buses and bus shelters, as well as digital distribution through Taxi-TV and dozens of online outlets, including BuzzFeed, Mashable, Guest of a Guest, Songza and others.
In addition to local placement, the campaign placed advertisements through social media and in the publications of leading engineering schools across the country, to encourage recent graduates to explore a career in New York City.
The City is committed to supporting the growth and evolution of its creative industries-essentially, ventures at the intersection of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, or STEAM. To help achieve this goal, Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Katherine Oliver announced in October 2012 the development of the "Made in NY" Media Center by IFP, a new physical space in DUMBO, Brooklyn where storytellers from multiple disciplines such as film, video, gaming and technology collaborate across a range of training programs, industry events and special initiatives. A partnership between the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment and Independent Filmmaker Project, with participation from General Assembly and NYCEDC, the 20,000-square-foot facility includes a transmedia incubator, co-working space, café, media arts gallery and state-of-the-art screening room, and opened in October 2013.